Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Pay Attention

I didn't set out this summer to be an example, a lesson, in what not to do, but the last two weeks and three incidents have proven that I should, indeed, be a lesson to others.

Here are three things you should avoid, if at all possible.

1) Obsessing over photos of your ridiculously cute children when you are far too close to a gravel road.

2) Cleaning the garage barefoot.

3) Leaving anything of value on view in your vehicle.

So, when you see those in print, it's like, "Well, of course, who does that? Let alone all three things?"

Me. I did. All three. In the span of ten days.

The phone's not such a big deal...it's a #middleclassproblem, and I'll survive until November with a mildly cracked phone. It'll cost money, but my contract is up, and there was a good chance I would get a new one anyway...but still.  Don't be an idiot. Sure, my kids are crazy cute, but I didn't actually need to take that photo in the 100 degree heat, squatting down on gravel. I could have waited for another time. But the one year old was waving and saying, "Hi," to goats...Excuses, excuses.  Pay attention. Put the phone away. Tell everyone later how cute it was for that sweet toddler to wave at goats.

The garage thing? Yeah, literally five minutes before "it happpneeedddd," I said to myself, "I shouldn't be out here barefoot."  True story. The kids were in bed. The littlest one was still fussing a bit, and she fusses more when she can hear me. I went out to move some things around (because garage cleaning, in my world, happens in the little moments), moved one box of photo albums to be over near another box of photo albums, and the next thing I knew, I had two purple toes and one less toenail.  I'm glad the weight that was clearly not stored in the right place fell on me and not one of my kids, but still, I wish it hadn't fallen at all.  Let me be your example: Pay attention.

Fast forward a few days, and we are limping along in San Francisco. "I'll leave my bags in the car, and then we can hop in on the way back," I said to myself as we left my best friend's house for a quick walk before heading home.  "It'll save time," I said to myself.  Had I said this outloud, my best friend would have helped me not be stupid and would have told me to put my bags in the trunk or hidden in the backseat.  Alas, my attempt to make the most of time has cost me three days of dealing with shoddy customer service and the hassle of getting the car seats out and in again, and that might even be the most important part. Lesson? Again, I tell you: Pay attention.

I get caught up in my own little world, forgetting everything around me. The pictures need taking, the garage needs cleaning, and the kiddos need back in the car ASAP so they can nap on the way home.  But my needs clouded my vision. I have no one to blame for these incidents. Sure, there should be better people in the world, and I shouldn't have to worry that my diaper bag will get stolen from my front seat. But I do know that - this wasn't my first time in San Francisco.  I'm an adult. I'm a parent, for crying out loud. It's my job to pay attention.

So, please, don't you also end up with a cracked screen, two crushed toes, and a broken car window. Pay attention.

On the flip side, in the days after the break in, friends and acquaintances have flooded out of social media, offering to replace my stolen clothes (over $300 worth of LuLaRoe) and bags (over $100 worth of Thirty-One). My high-deductible insurance wouldn't have covered those personal items, but I don't feel their loss anymore thanks to good, kind people.  One friend drove over 100 miles round trip to pick up my kids and me since my insurance couldn't be bothered to figure out how to get me home. Kindness (though she admitted that the ride there, alone in the car without her kids, wasn't exactly painful...).

I want to pay these kindnesses forward, to do good for others, to pay attention to who has needs and try, in some way to meet those needs. I don't know what that looks like yet, but I'll be taking notice and stepping in to help.  Maybe someone will see me in action, and I can be an example in those moments, too, I'd much prefer that than showcasing photos of my batered toe on Instagram (which I only did for a couple of days...you're welcome for stopping...).  

So, friends, go out there. Pay attention.  Don't hurt yourselves and do help others.  



 

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